What are the warning signs of alcoholism? There are a couple to watch out for, but the bottom line is always going to be excessive drinking in some shape or form.
If someone is drinking more and more heavily, then this is a red flag. Even if someone has been drinking moderate amounts their whole life, they can suddenly start to drink heavier and larger amounts and develop a problem. So this is an obvious warning sign, when the quantity consumed starts to increase, and tends to stay up at a high level over a period of time.
If a person is hiding or stashing alcohol, then this is another clear warning sign that something is wrong and is getting out of hand. No one should have to hide their booze or be dishonest about how much or how often they have been drinking. The whole point of doing so is only to hide excessive amounts of consumption.
Another problem sign is when people lie about how much they have had to drink, or how much they have been drinking lately.
If a person has to drink in order to go to sleep at night, then this might be a sign as well. If they cannot go without drinking at all for a day, then there body is physically addicted to alcohol on some level.
Remember too that there is a difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Abuse can happen with anyone; just about any person can go overboard every once in a while and have way to much to drink. This is not uncommon and should be expected of people. It does not make them alcoholic.
Watch what happens when a person is forced to go without alcohol. There is your real indicator of their alcoholism. If they go nuts, get uncomfortable, suffer from severe anxiety, and generally resent the fact that they cannot drink for a certain or special occasion, then that is a strong indicator right there. The alcoholic will tend to stay quiet and under control for the most part while they are drinking most of the time, but when they cannot drink for some reason–look out. That is when the real problems start to manifest.
If someone you know is developing alcoholism, there is not a lot you can do about it other than support their decision to seek help. In many cases they will resent you if you try to confront them about it, so sometimes you will just have to let them learn things the hard way (which most alcoholics insist upon anyway!).